Suits recap: Self Defense
Mike and Harvey face off in a mock trial, and Gibbs puts pressure on Louis, the weakest link
Time is running out for Mike and company. Tonight, they find out what happens when a mock trial stops being fake and starts getting real (in all senses of the word). With Mike fighting for his life, it’s time for him to not only decide decide what he’s willing to do to win, but also what he’s willing to ask of his friends and family. Gibbs trying to drive a wedge between the Pearson Specter Litt lawyers isn’t helping matters, either.
In light of the discovery that the prosecution has found Trevor, Mike decides he’s going to represent himself. If you’ve watched any crime or legal show, you know that Mike being his own lawyer isn’t the best idea. However, by the end of the episode, the answer to whether or not this is the right course of action is definitely maybe.
But let’s start at the beginning: Harvey, with Jessica’s blessing, challenges Mike to a mock trial to prove he shouldn’t represent himself. If Mike loses the trial run, Mike will shut up and let Harvey defend him. Mike thinks defending himself is the best plan because it’ll allow the jury to see him be a lawyer, which is what they’re trying to prove, and he’ll be able to testify without opening himself up to cross-examination by Gibbs. Furthermore, Mike believes he has a leg up on Harvey because he is fighting for his life. However, Harvey is concerned that Gibbs will find some way to rattle him in court and that’ll make him look worse. And, Harvey does have a point. This is a very personal case for Mike and it’s just as likely that will cloud his judgment and make him more reckless and prone to distraction while in court.
Suits has done the whole mock trial thing before. To be honest, I can’t remember exactly how that went, but that’s not really important. The show is aware we’ve been down this road before and doesn’t devote an entire episode to the fake trial, which has Pearson Specter Litt partners serving as the jury and Jessica plays the role of the judge. The mock trial serves several functions apart from just providing Mike with another opportunity to show off his annoyingly detailed memory. First, it pits Harvey and Mike against each other, which should have lead to some fun character dynamics. Instead both men just focus on one-upping each other with fake evidence and forget that the entire point of this trial is to prepare Mike to go up against Anita Gibbs.
The pretend trial also allows the show to briefly examine Harvey’s remarkable ability to compartmentalize when he’s trying a case. Harvey calls Rachel to the stand and, boy, he doesn’t hold back. He brings up the fact that she cheated on Mike with Logan Sanders, humiliating her in front of the entire firm. Ouch, cold.
WANT MORE? Keep up with all the latest from last night’s television by subscribing to our newsletter. Head here for more details.
“Harvey has this ability to just shut off and not see you as a person anymore,” Donna explains to Rachel as she tries to comfort her. Basically, he has a humanity switch like vampires on The CW.
However, Rachel emerges from this terrible experience slightly wiser. She tells Mike not to defend himself in court. In order to prove his case, Mike will have to do to Trevor what Harvey did to her, but Rachel knows that will just turn the jury against him. This is probably the first time throughout this entire process that Rachel has taken a position on something regarding the case.
This decision couldn’t have come any sooner because the judge approved Anita Gibbs’ motion to move up the trial date to tomorrow to avoid losing another one of her witnesses. (Remember, Louis gave Sheila a ticket to Argentina.)
NEXT: The real trial, and the Louis of it all
Anita Gibbs continues to circle the Pearson Specter Litt lawyers. Early on in the episode, she confronts Louis about paying for Sheila to leave the country to avoid the trial, accusing him of witness tampering. Luckily, there wasn’t an actual subpoena issued for Sheila, so Louis can at least avoid being charged with a crime. Naturally, Louis takes out his frustration on Jessica and demands that she says on the stand that Mike went to Harvard to avoid them having to bring Sheila into the case. Although she plans on taking the fifth, because duh, she tells Gibbs that she plans on testifying that Mike is a lawyer because she hopes this will stop Gibbs from calling her or Louis to the stand.
Everyone shows up the next day for the first day of Mike’s trial. Trevor is Gibbs’ first witness, and while on the stand, he tells the truth about what Mike was doing instead of going to Harvard. However, Harvey discredits his testimony by bringing up the immunity agreement Gibbs gave him (remember, he used to sell drugs) and arguing that Trevor has always been jealous of Mike.
Next, Gibbs calls Donna to the stand and asks her how Mike got into that initial job interview with Harvey without an appointment, thereby calling into question Donna’s abilities as a secretary, which clearly bothers Donna. Eventually, she asks Donna if Mike went to Harvard and Donna pleads the fifth. It’s an interesting character moment because it reminds us that Donna isn’t as unflappable as she seems. Not even she can stand up against a U.S. Attorney out for blood.
Thankfully, Mike and Harvey have one ace up their sleeve: Jimmy. Earlier on in the episode, Mike realized he needed to find someone from his supposed class year who could testify that they knew him. Although bumbling and ever-earnest Harold offers, Mike decides to ask Jimmy, who is smart enough to say no at first, because perjury. But, clearly he changed his mind because Harvey calls him to the stand and he testifies that he knew Mike while he was at Harvard.
Sadly, this isn’t quite enough and Gibbs casts doubt on his testimony by showing the jury surveillance pictures of him and Mike arguing several days before. She also brings up the fact that Mike being found guilty would mean Jimmy’s aunt, who won money in a class action Mike worked on with Robert Zane, would lose said money. To be fair, his aunt has to be the only reason Jimmy is perjuring himself right now, and I’m barely buying that as a reason.
In spite of that little bump at the end, Mike thinks he and Harvey had a good day in court. But, Harvey channels his inner Storm by raining on his parade and saying that wasn’t enough. Their performance in court has convinced Harvey of one thing: Mike needs to defend himself. Now, they need to find a way to convince the judge to let him switch representation so late in the trial, which means more plot shenanigans next week!
Before the episode closes, Gibbs stops by Louis’ home to brag about how she found out the precise moment Louis found out about Mike’s secret — i.e. when he resigned and then returned as a named partner. Knowing how much Louis loves the finer things in life like mudding and the ballet, Gibbs offers him one last chance to avoid going to prison and losing all of those.